Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Harrison leads four-way thriller

Jordan Harrison has won the second Classic Formula Ford race of the weekend in dramatic style, thwarting a three-sided attack from Tom McArthur, Richard Tarling and Ben Tinkler.

Harrison’s Lola T540 has been the fastest car in the Classic pack all weekend and it was something of a surprise when McArthur’s Class B Merlyn nosed alongside Harrison at the start. The two of them were side by side into Riches and furiously challenging each other for the opening two laps.

Eventually, they tripped each other up and Tarling took a chance in his Royale RP26, towing Ben Tinkler’s Van Diemen RF80 with him. Harrison bided his time, running in the leading back but as low as fifth. It was a plan that paid off; once the time and place were right, he surged past Tarling and Tinkler and quickly pulled out a significant gap.

McArthur was then caught in a slipstreaming contest with Joe Ahrens’s Van Diemen RF80, Rick Morris’s Royale and the distincitive Lola of Jake Shortland. Shortland pulled off near the start-finish line with evident mechanical problems, reducing their group to three. The number decreased but the intensity did not, with Ahrens making increasing incursions into the territory of Morris and McArthur. He eventually prevailed, finishing fourth. Morris was fifth, ahead of McArthur, who received a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits. This did not affect his final finshing position.

Philip Senior was a lonely seventh in a red Royale RP24. Some way behind him, Oliver Chapman’s Lola T200 and James Rigby’s “Jesus Saves” Royale RP26 were engaged in a race-long scuffle. Rigby prevailed, but only by a tenth of a second. Alan Fincham (Van Diemen RF80) rounded out the top ten.

The lower of the field had its own rivalries present. Stuart Kestenbaum, driving a Van Diemen RF81, was 11th, and led home a second slipstreaming pack of Ben Hadfield’s 1978 Van Diemen, Mark Harrison’s green RP24 and Richard Yeomans in his Crossle 25F.

Full results at TSL Timing


Another Simms double as challengers fall

Benn Simms has completed another HSCC Historic Formkula Ford 2000 double, winning by a big margin from Graham Fennymore.

Apart from the gap, this sounds like a standard FF2000 story, but both Simms and Fennymore were helped by several of their closest challengers retiring.

It felt as if there was a curse on second place. Cam Jackson started his Delta T80 behind Simms and shook off an attack by Ben Glasswell, in a Reynard SF77 like Simms’s. However, he dropped out before the first lap was over with a disconnected HT lead.

This put Glasswell into second, where he remained in what looked like a safe position if quite a way behind Simms. He had made a quick series of passes to third place. Unfortunately for him, his car began misfiring noisily with a probable electrical fault and he had to retire.

Fennymore’s Reynard SF81 had begun in ninth. He worked his way up to fourth quickly, but it took some time to get past Graham Ridgway’s Royale RP27. Glasswell’s retirement promoted him to second, where he reaimed after breaking free of the chasing group.

Ridgway’s car had been subjected to an inspection the night before and the opened rocker cover was leaking oil, causing him to lose speed. He was passed by Glasswell after a good start and then overtaken by Greg Robertson’s SF79 and Stephen Glasswell’s SF79. Glasswell Sr’s car developed an electrical problem like his son’s, quite early, but Robertson continued his charge from sixth and finished the race third. Lee Bankhurst (Royale RP30) was fourth, having spun in the previous race and worked his way back from seventh place on the grid. Ridgway was fifth.

Andrew Storer’s Pukka Pies SF79 was a reliable sixth, some way ahead of the 1978 Reynard of Adrian Langridge. Nathaniel Cooper’s Royale RP27 and Adrian Reynard’s SF79 followed him home a few seconds apart.

Jon Finch completed the top ten in his SF79. With another lap, Ollie Roberts (SF79) might have caught him as he was very close.

Drew Cameron had to stop on the first lap and his Royale RP27 was found to have serious driveshaft problems.

Jen Ridgway was awarded Driver of the Day for her mission from the back of the grid to 15th place, passing many cars with guts and enthusiasm.

Full results at TSL Timing

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

McArthur wins in Historic photo finish

Tom McArthur pipped Samuel Harrison on the line for a second Historic Formula Ford victory of the weekend.

McArthur, who had jumped straight out of a Merlyn Mk20 in Classic FF1600 into the Titan he uses for Historics, weathered a strong challenge from Classic Team Merlyn driver Harrison, who was leading into the final lap. A precision move into the final metres of the race secured the win, although both the timing screens and the commentary team were initially unsure who had won. McArthur was declared the victor by 0.041s shortly afterwards.

He had led for most of the 20-minute race, initially carving out a gap, but Harrison gradually crept up behind him with a series of fastest laps, leading briefly at about three-quarters distance before making another move on the penultimate lap.

Harrison had passed Callum Grant’s Merlyn early in the first lap. Grant had qualified second but was struggling with understeer and let Harrison past. He held on to third, although he was on his own for most of the race.

The usual chasing pack of Matt Wrigley (Merlyn Mk11A/20), Danny Stanzl’s Elden and Brian Morris in a Lola looked different. Wrigley broke away fairly early after a fast start and ran his own solo race in fourth. The others, joined by Rob Smith in his Merlyn and Tim Brise’s similar car, met different fates. Morris hit a kerb on the Bentley Straight and retired with a broken upright on lap three, leaving Stanzl and Smith to it. Smith’s car then snapped a rear stub axle and he coasted off onto the grass just before Palmer, leaving Stanzl alone in fifth. Brise was sixth and leading Over 50 driver, after a few skirmishes with Ross Drybrough in his March. Drybrough was seventh, with Cormac Flanagan (Alexis Mk14), the Crossle 16F of Kevin Stanzl and Tom Pearson in a Merlyn Mk11/17 following behind at intervals to complete the top ten. Pearson did well to recover from an off just after Riches, in which Brise was also caught.

Oliver Chapman limped to the end after spinning his Lola T200, while Scott Rawlinson’s Merlyn and Louis Hanjoul’s Elden never really got going.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Harrison wins as McArthur and Tarling squabble

Jordan Harrison cruised away into the distance to win this weekend’s first Classic Formula Ford race, leaving Tom McArthur and Richard Tarling to push hard for second.

Harrison’s Lola T540E was never challenged for the lead and his win soon became a foregone conclusion. He got a good start and was quickly lapping in the 2:04s, over a second faster than than his nearest rivals.

He was impressive, but the biggest drama grew from the rivalry between McArthur, in a Class B Merlyn Mk20, and Tarling, driving a Royale RP26 for the first time in anger this year. The two tried different lines around each other, with both holding the lead at different times as Harrison got away. McArthur took the lead going into the final lap after Tarling appeared to have repelled him and although he was never more than a whisker away from McArthur’s car, he could not get past. McArthur was just 0.2s ahead on the line.

Tarling had the additional challenge of defending from Ben Tinkler towards the end. Tinkler, driving his red Van Diemen RF80, leapfrogged the Lola T440 of the struggling Jake Shortland on the first lap and gradually insinuated himself into the chasing group, coming very close to making a serious attack that Tarling had to head off. The gap between him and Tarling was even smaller than the tiny interval between McArthur and Tarling.

A furious race-within-a-race for fifth followed, contested by Rick Morris in his Royale RP29, the RF80 of Joe Ahrens and Shortland, who missed a gear at the start and dropped from fourth to seventh. Morris and Ahrens were particularly gung-ho and both took turns at leading their group, but it was Morris who was at the front at the right time and he was fifth, from sixth-placed Ahrens. Shortland dropped back in the closing laps, but he had had a go at both Ahrens and Morris previously.

The rest of the field was spread out. Philip Senior’s Royale RP24 was a lonely eighth, with the RF80 of Alan Fincham some way behind. Fincham had broken free of a midfield drafting pack involving Stuart Kestenbaum’s RF81 and an improving Richard Yeomans, driving a Crossle. Kestenbaum was tenth and Yeomans eleventh.

Class B driver Oliver Chapman, in a Lola T200, was quick enough to run in the top ten but did not finish.

Full results at TSL Timing

(Image copyright Sophia Harrison/Shaws Motorsport)


Simms triumphs as Fennymore struggles

Benn Simms has increased his lead at the top of the Historic Formula Ford 2000 table as his nearest rival faltered.

Simms, driving his distinctive yellow Reynard SF77, showed more of the pace he displayed in qualifying, dipping well under the two-minute mark to keep Graham Fennymore’s SF81 at bay. Fennymore had been gaining slowly on Simms and had actually set the fastest lap of the race, but a broken wishbone slowed him right down and dropped him all the way to ninth place.

This opened the door for Cam Jackson, on his first time out in a Delta T80. He had a slightly hesitant start and was passed by Graham Ridgway’s Royale RP27 off the line, but he soon retook his spot and maintained a solid, if a little distant, third place. The retirement of Drew Cameron’s Royale with a loose wheel took some of the pressure off him, then he was able to pass Fennymore’s ailing car and settle into second.

Third-paced Ben Glasswell was another driver who got an excellent start, working his way up from 11th to sixth fairly quickly. He quickly pushed his SF77 past his father Stephen’s SF79 and then overhauled Ridgway for third, where he stayed. Ridgway was fourth and Glasswell Sr fifth, with the sister SF79 of Greg Robertson very close behind in sixth.

Lee Bankhurst (Royale RP30) was seventh, although quite a way back, with Andrew Storer’s SF79 in tow. Adrian Langridge completed the top ten in his Reynard SF78, behind Fennymore.

It was a race of considerable attrition. Jen Ridgway’s SF78 had radiator issues and she did not even complete a lap. Ollie Roberts’s SF79 was hit by flying debris on the first lap and didn’t go much further, swiftly followed by the SF79 of Brian Morris, who found himself with a broken throttle cable. Neil Bowman, whose Van Diemen RF78 is the only Class B car on the gird, also did not finish.

Historic Formula Ford HSCC

McArthur wins magic first race

Tom McArthur is Historic Formula Ford’s first winner of the year, after an entertaining and exuberant first race.

He started from pole in Simon Hadfield’s Titan and was always a strong candidate for the win, but not before he had been part of a thrilling slipstreaming battle with the Merlyn Mk20s of Callum Grant and Samuel Harrison.

Second-placed Grant came the closest to stealing the win from McArthur. In the closing laps, he had made a series of overtaking moves on the Titan at Coram, with McArthur powering away from the starting line and retaking. This could easily have brought a win for Grant, as McArthur was waiting until after the line to make his move. Only a concerted change of plan pushed him ahead, and then only by 0.063s. The two leaders were watching one other as they took the flag and waving at each other in good-natured rivalry.

Harrison had dropped away from the two leaders, despite having been part of the slipstreaming moves at the front until a problem with a rear wheel curtailed his speed. He got a slow start but was soon leading for the first of several stints at the top.

A second tussle over fourth place had raged all race between Matt Wrigley’s Merlyn Mk11A/20, Danny Stanzl in his Elden and Lola T200 drivers Brian Morris and Simon Toyne. Wrigley snuck past Stanzl on the final lap for fourth, the two of them having deposed a charging Toyne earlier on. Toyne was sixth, ahead of Morris who was the leading Over 50 driver.

Oliver Chapman was the other end of a Lola T200 queue, albeit some way behind in eighth. Another good scrap for Over 50s runner-up status then ensued between the Merlyn Mk20s of Rob Smith and Tim Brise, with Brise just getting the upper hand at the right time.

The whole grid was getting involved in friendly rivalries. Cormac Flanagan (Alexis Mk14) prevailed over Scott Rawlinson’s Merlyn in 15th place, behind Ross Drybrough’s March 709 and James Russell ‘s Merlyn in 11th and 12th. Tom Pearson (Merlyn Mk11A/17) and Paul Unsworth (Lola T200) were another close pair in 13th and 14th.

Full results at TSL Timing

Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Hot laps: Snetterton qualifying round-up

Qualifying for all three HSCC Formula Ford categories has finished at Snetterton, with some more super-fast laps and a few surprises.

Jordan Harrison managed to wrangle a Lola that wouldn’t downshift around the Norfolk track and set a superb 2:04.947 in the process. Thankfully he has until tomorrow to deal with the clutch in time for both Classic races.

Harrison’s nearest challengers were Richard Tarling in a Royale RP26 and Tom McArthur in a Merlyn Mk20, both more than a second adrift but close to each other. Second to seventh was covered by a second, with Jake Shortland’s Lola fourth, Ben Tinkler (Van Diemen RF80) fifth, Rick Morris sixth in his familair Royale and Joe Ahrens seventh in Tarling’s RF80.

Big pole times were also a theme again in Formula Ford 2000, with Benn Simms’s Reynard SF77 leading the way. This time, however, Graham Fennymore’s 1981 Reynard was little more than a tenth behind, despite not having enough grip earlier in the session.

Cam Jackson was happy with third in Simon Ayliff’s Delta, a little over a second back. Drew Cameron’s Royale RP27 was a further half-second behind and the two will be scrapping on the line.

A returning Graham Ridgway in another RP27 will start fifth, just ahead of another two late season starters, Stephen Glasswell and Brian Morris (both Reynard SF79).

In Historic Formula Ford, Tom McArthur put Simon Hadfield’s Titan on pole by 0.054s from Samuel Harrison in a Classic Team Merlyn Mk20. Setting up a fantastic first lap, Callum Grant’s Merlyn Mk20 is close on the tail of Harrison, just 0.37s further back.

Simon Toyne will be pleased with fourth on the grid in his Lola T200, as will his Neil Fowler Motorsport team-mate Brian Morris, who will start in fifth and as the first Over 50 driver. Matt Wrigley (Merlyn Mk11A/20) and Danny Stanzl in his newly repainted Elden Mk8 are extremely close in sixth and seventh. Tom Pearson, some way back in father Ted’s Merlyn Mk11/17, enjoys his best-ever qualifying in eighth.

Full results at TSL Timing


Can Simms keep up his momentum?

Benn Simms is still the favourite for Snetterton honours in Formula Ford 2000, despite the presence of fast newcomer Cam Jackson.

Simms’s Reynard SF77 was unbelievably quick in qualifying at Brands Hatch, all the while dealing with clutch issues on his car and a shoulder injury on himself. Without these, can he go even quicker?

Andrew Park went faster during the race himself, but the multiple champion has not entered this weekend. Simms doesn’t have his car to watch out for in his mirrors, but he does have the SF81 of Graham Fennymore bearing down on him. The 2021 champion was having slight trouble with a new clutch biting just that bit too hard at Brands, but it didn’t hold him back too much and is probably sorted now.

Jackson, driving Simon Ayliff’s Delta, is an unknown quantity in FF2000, but his pedigree in both FF1600 and Formula Junior suggests that it won’t be too long before he is right on the pace.

Drew Cameron was fourth at Brands and will be able to capitalise on any mistakes by the leaders. He has had some problems to overcome in testing, losing a carburettor float and damaging a rear wing, but these are far from insurmountable. Ollie Roberts has had time to deal with the car problems that affected his starting positions at Brands and his SF79 will be closer to the front.

Grids were sizeable at Brands, but some regulars will be making their 2022 debuts this year and will be a welcome addition to the grid. Graham and Jennifer Ridgway in their SF78s and Ben and Stephen Glasswell in their SF77 and SF79 respectively will fly the flag for inter-family competition, with Ben Glasswell likely to be near the business end of the grid. Andy and Adrian Langridge, both in SF78s, are yet another family pairing.

Peter Drennan is not coming to Snetterton, although he may well reappear later. Molly Dodd, fourth in last year’s championship, is also only doing a part-season this year.

Historic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

New challengers and returning regulars for Historic Formula Ford

The first Historic Formula Ford races of the year will have few new faces, but some likely new combinations at the front and some familiar names on the grid.

Defending champion Cam Jackson, Silverstone winner Linton Stutely and 2021 championship contender Horatio Fitz-Simon have all decided to sit out the Snetterton races at least, meaning that the leading pack might look a little different this year.

Tom McArthur was up there with Jackson and Fitz-Simon for most of last year and he is having another go in 2022. The Cheshire-based FF1600 specialist will be taking on both the Historic and Classic championships in Mandie Hadfield’s Merlyn Mk20, a car he has driven before.

His most likely sparring partner at the front will be Samuel Harrison, now a Classic Team Merlyn driver in the Mk20 that Fitz-Simon used in 2021. Although still in his teens, Harrison showed increasing maturity towards the end of 2021 and got his CTM career off to a great start with a historic win at the Walter Hayes Trophy.

Callum Grant is only making a few appearances in 2022 but he will almost certainly add another Merlyn Mk20 to the mix at the front at Snetterton. He had a terrific scrap with McArthur at Oulton Park last year and a repeat of that would make a great curtain-opener for the season.

Over 50s frontrunner Rob Smith is racing again for the first time since Brands Hatch in 2020, having been caught out by travel restrictions due to mostly living in France. He was easily the quickest in the class until his enforced hiatus and his Merlyn Mk20 will be a welcome addition.

Keeping an eye on him, Over 50 champion Brian Morris will return in his Lola T200 and regular challenger Ross Drybrough is racing his March 709, as driven by Cam Jackson in 2020.

Morris, Matt Wrigley and Danny Stanzl were a common combination in the chasing pack last year, with Wrigley sometimes managing to break free in his Merlyn Mk11A/20. Stanzl, with a little more reliability, could be joining him this year.

Other returnees include Alexis driver Cormac Flanagan, who missed most of 2021 after crashing out at Snetterton. Flanagan has already made his return to the circuits, but Scott Rawlinson will be out this weekend in his Merlyn Mk11A for the first time since a big accident in practice at Cadwell.

Championship co-ordinator Ted Pearson has stood down from driving his Merlyn Mk11/17 this weekend in favour of son Tom.

Classic Formula Ford HSCC Uncategorized

Classic Formula Ford preview: McArthur sets up Harrison showdown

The 2022 Classic Formula Ford season is just about to begin and there is a new name on the enry list. Tom McArthur, who pushed Cam Jackson so hard last year in Simon Hadfield’s Titan, is launching a combined Classic and Historic campaign in a Merlyn Mk20.

McArthur will be hoping to emulate Benn Tilley, who won the Classic championship in 2018 in the very same car, which is run by Hadfield and owned by his wife, Mandie.

This sets up the exciting prospect of a lead battle between defending champion Jordan Harrison and McArthur. Both are committed, uncompromising drivers, and two of the few Formula Ford competitors to have got the better of Cam Jackson.

Harrison has always had the speed to win in his green Lola T540E, but a more measured and tactical approach really paid off in 2021.

They are likely to be joined at the front by Richard Tarling, driving a Royale RP26 run by Enigma Motorsport. The 2017 Historic champion has always known when to use his aggressive side and when to go with the flow. He will be looking to make his mark again after an enforced lay-off due to complications arising from Covid.

Classic regular Ben Tinkler has finally decided against selling his Van Diemen RF80 and is another capable front-runner. We cannot rule out 2019 champion Rick Morris either, although he struggled with setup on his Royale RP29 all last year.

Running as a team-mate to his erstwhile driver coach Tarling this year, Joe Ahrens is out again in an Enigma-run Van Diemen RF80. He showed promise in his first year of racing and may be able to fly with the leading group in 2022. Jake Shortland, another younger driver, is also set to appear at Snetterton, having impressed at the circuit last year. He will be driving another Lola.

Not a new driver by any means, CFF President Stuart Kestenbaum will be debuting a new car, a Van Diemen RF81 that has been a “project” for a while.

Notable absentees include Henry Chart, who is doing a part-season this year due to other commitments, and 2020 champion Cam Jackson, who is taking a step back from full-time FF1600 this year.